With yet another investigation into an alleged food-borne illness outbreak, things just seem to be getting worse for the once skyrocketing restaurant chain Chipotle.
Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that it was investigating yet another reported E. coli outbreak allegedly linked to Chipotle locations in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma. This is the most recent of several investigations over the last few months, including another E. coli outbreak that infected 52 people across nine different states, with most reported illnesses in Washington and Oregon. In addition, a December norovirus outbreak in a Massachusetts Chipotle led to several Boston College students becoming ill.
According to the CDC, the most recent alleged E. coli outbreak has thus far infected five people - one in Kansas, one in North Dakota and three in Oklahoma - with their illnesses starting mid-to-late November. While it remains to be seen if this food outbreak is related to the previous one, the CDC does note that all five individuals ate at a Chipotle location in the week before their illnesses started. This recent investigation could not come at a worse time for Chipotle, especially considering the recent dive it its stock prices.
While Chipotle has already issued an apology and announced new safety measures, the actual source of these outbreaks has yet to be identified by health officials. Quite simply, it will take a great deal of time and effort on the part of Chipotle before it regains the trust of its customers.